29 August 2015

The Host

Author: Stephenie Meyer
Series: The Host #1
Rating: 3 / 5 stars
Verdict: Borrow

Get ready for a review almost as long as the book (just kidding, but also, not really)!

First of all, I'm not sure the marketing strategy for this book was well thought out and completely sound.  Having "Author of The Twilight Saga" slapped in huge, bold letters across the bottom only deterred me from reading it for the past two years or so that I've been debating reading this book or not.

I will say, The Host feels a bit like the Twilight books in Meyer's basic plot strategy.  First, we have the impossible love triangle - two humans and one parasite of a human.  Did I mention the parasite is inside one of the other humans?  Though Meyer takes it a step even further in this series, adding another human in, just to make sure it's all one big mess of feels and angst and hurt and anger.  Enough to go around for the whopping 619 pages.

I had to suspend a lot of disbelief for this story.  For starters, what intelligent life form would look at Earth and think, "Yeah, humans.  That seems like the next logical species we should inhabit."  Did they even do a lick of research before cryo freezing themselves and shoving them a century through space to get here?  Just spend one day observing this planet - people killing people, countries killing countries, religions killing religions - and it would be blatantly apparent that humans are not the right fit for Wanda's kind to use as Hosts.  Also (a thought I didn't just have until now), if the first wave has been here less than a decade, I would assume they came from the closest planet.  But Wanderer came from one of the ones over a century away, right?  How would they have known that long ago where to send the ship?  The sci-fi and space travel elements of this novel did not feel well thought out.

Then we get to the fact that this is an adult/new adult novel.  Thought Melanie starts out around sixteen in the flashbacks where we see her relationship with Jamie and Jared, she's now in her early twenties.  But, man, a lot of times she feels as immature and young as the Twilight girl.  And Meyer certainly did not convince me that Wanderer has lived, what, eight, other full grown lives, all of them spanning longer than the "short" human life span she points out?  I realize the cultural shock and adjustment of being on a new planet in a crazy, irrational host species would be a bit of a shock, but come on.  Wanda feels like she's a teenage girl as well.  Meyer can't seem to write a character outside of this mind frame.

All that being said, you would think I could stand this novel about as much as I could stand reading the entirety of the Twilight novel.  But yet.... but yet!  Melanie is a rather strong, determined character (if only by the fact that she will not relent to the parasite trying to take over her body).  She's not your Bella Swan here at all.  Though she loves Jared and she can't believe Jared doesn't want her back and she can't believe he would even TOUCH her body knowing Wanda is controlling her, Mel's life doesn't revolve around Jared completely.  Instead, her life revolves around Jamie, her younger brother.  And the relationship that form between Wanda, Mel, and Jamie?  Kind of awesome, I'm not going to lie.  And the relationship between Wanda and Mel progresses surprisingly well.  There isn't one sudden tilting point where it all changes.  It's more of a natural progression, where you really can't just pick a spot in the book and say that's where it all changes.

Now, I'm not saying this book is great fiction.  It has way too much romantic drama for me to take it seriously in a lot of spaces, and I'm not sure Meyer and sci-fi are meant to go hand and hand.  But I will admit (I know, it surprises me too!) that I actually kind of, sort of, liked this book.  I finished it, after all, which is a feat of its own.  I doubt I'll ever read it again, and I doubt she's ever going to write the rest of the supposed series, but I wouldn't hate you for liking this story.  If she writes a sequel, I daresay I would probably read all 600+ pages of that one too.

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